LINCOLN, Nebraska (AP) — Nebraska fired Scott Frost on Sunday, and the situation was so appalling in a football program that he was so proud that athletic director Trev Alberts made the move just three weeks before the coach’s contract was halved.
The Cornhuskers lost 45-42 to Georgia Southern as the three-point favorite at home Saturday night, and the student division chanted “Fire Frost” at the end of the game.
Frost had hit 16-31 three games in his fifth season, and his 0.340 win percentage was the second-worst among Nebraska coaches who had run for more than four years.
Assistant coach Mickey Joseph has been appointed interim coach for the remainder of the season. The Huskers play No. 6 in Oklahoma this week.
Joseph, 54, is Nebraska’s first black coach in any sport and among four new members of the coaching staff this season. Like Frost, he is the former Nebraska quarterback, having played from 1988 to 1991.
“Earlier today I met with Coach Frost and informed him that we are making a leadership change for our football program, which will take effect immediately,” Alberts said in a statement. “Scott Scott is his heart and soul on the Nebraska Football Program as a quarterback and head coach, and I appreciate his work and dedication.
“After a disappointing start to our season, I have decided that the best way forward for our program is to make a change to our main training site.”
Joseph returned to Nebraska as a wide receiving coach and passing game coordinator after coaching receivers at LSU from 2017-21. He was also LSU’s assistant coach in his last two seasons there.
Alberts made a surprising move last November when he announced he would bring Frost back after what turned out to be a 3-9 season. Frost fired four offensive assistants, lowered his salary from $5 million to $4 million, and agreed to cut the buyout from $15 million to $7.5 million on October 1.
There was no immediate news of a negotiated settlement. Absent that, Nebraska is sacrificing millions of dollars to cut the rope now.
It seems Alberts has seen enough. The Hulkers opened the season with a 31-28 loss to Northwestern in Ireland, struggled in the fourth quarter before sending off FCS North Dakota 38-17 and then allowed for 642 yards while losing to the Sunbelt Conference in South Georgia.
The 47-year-old coach’s fiasco when he left Central Florida as America’s hottest coach was unimaginable.
The story of his appointment was fun, with Frost returning to his home state and the school where he was playing quarterback to a share of the 1997 National Championship.
He had taken charge of Central Florida’s program that went from 0 to 12 in 2015, and two years later led the Golden Knights to a 13-0 record and a Peach Bowl win over Auburn.
Frost, who grew up 90 minutes west of Lincoln in Wood River, was hailed as the program’s savior when former athletic director Bill Moss signed him to a seven-year, $35 million contract.
Moos bragged that he got a “trash pick” from the 2017-2018 coaching cycle and that the 10 big powers would be “scared” once Frost puts the mummy on the right track. When asked about the possibility of adjusting his technique to the Big Ten, Frost replied that he was hoping the Big Ten would adapt to him instead.
What followed was more than four seasons of poor performance and disorderly gameplay – and unhappiness among a loyal fan base desperately hoping to return to what looks like the show’s glory days.
There was never any indication that it could happen under Frost. The Mummies announcers were notorious for losing close matches – 22 of his 31 losses were decided by eight points or less – and for defeating them as the best double-digit players.
Frost’s era was the worst in Nebraska since Bill Jennings was 15-34-1 (.310) in the five years before Hall of Fame coaches Bob Davey and Tom Osborne ruled over four decades of continued success bringing five National Championships and 22 Conferences titles.
The Huskies have had five coaches since Osborne retired in 1997, and they are a shell of their former selves. They haven’t won a conference championship since 1999, and haven’t won more than five games in a season since going 9-4 in 2016 under Mike Riley.
Frost was 10-26 in Big Ten matches and, worse yet, 6-18 against West Division competitors. His teams have not won more than three conference games in a season or finished fifth in the seven-team Western Conference.
More AP College Football: And sign up for our college football newsletter: